According to Chase’s Calendar of Events, a comprehensive reference on special events, holidays, observances and historic anniversaries, January 21st is Happy Hug Day. Happy Hug Day was first featured in Chase’s Annual Events Calendar in 1986 and has grown in popularity worldwide ever since. Countries all over the world from the United States, England, the Republic of Georgia and more have recognized this day and have held events to commemorate the act of a loving embrace.
I chose to include Happy Hug Day as one of the topics for the January Health/Lifestyle series because I personally know the importance of human touch. You don’t realize how important touching or hugging is until you haven’t had a long embrace for a while. People that live overseas, are in the military, are sick and hospitalized, incarcerated, etc. usually go an extended amount of time without embracing loved ones. I think the lack of hugging or healthy-positive touching can negatively impact the physical health and even the mental and emotional health of even the strongest person.
Now before you go around wrapping your arms around any and everybody, make sure that you know the person well and have a strong interpersonal relationship with them first. Usually hugs are reserved for people that are in close relationships such as: parents, siblings, children, other relatives, close friends, romantic partners and spouses. There are some exceptions to the “close relationship rule” based on cultural and/or membership practices where hugging and/or other acts of intimacy like (kissing on the cheek, forehead, top of the head) is done by participants within certain organizations or groups as traditional practice (example: fraternities, sororities, civic groups, religious groups, ethnic groups...)
When I lived in the Middle East, it was customary for co-workers, acquaintances to greet each other with a cheek-to-cheek kiss. This is cultural because this does not happen in Western countries, like the United States, Canada, or the UK. I actually grew to like the custom during my time overseas and when I moved back to the United States it took me a while to break this habit because I enjoyed the physical contact so much!
According to the Happy Hug Day official website, there are several benefits to hugging. The Happy Hug Day website lists these benefits and cites evidence based research from scholarly journals, professional organization websites and news articles as references.
I’ll provide the link to the site at the end of the blog post so you can read the complete list. However, I want to spotlight just a few of those benefits that stood out the most to me because they contribute to #Health and #Wellness.
Some Benefits of Hugging
1. Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug helps ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels, which in turn help lower our heart rates.
2. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon proved that individuals who were sick and received hugs had less severe symptoms and were able to get better quicker.
3. Hugs alleviate stress! Just as a good hug increases our oxytocin levels, it decreases our cortisol or “stress” levels.
With all of these #Health and #Wellness benefits, I think hugging should be a daily prescription for all of us to stay healthy.
Happy Hug Day!
Is Happy Hug Day recognized in your country?
Do you like to Hug? Why? Why not?
Tell me your thoughts on hugging on the Facebook page.
-National Hugging Day Official Website: http://www.nationalhuggingday.com/
-Brave Archer Films Official Website: http://www.bravearcherfilms.com/